Allergies Symptoms, Causes & Natural Remedies
What are allergies?
Allergies happen when there is a reaction by your immune system to a foreign substance - such as plant pollen, bee venom, or even a food that does not cause a response in many people. Your immune system produces substances called antibodies. If you have allergies, your immune system builds antibodies that identify a specific allergen as harmful even though it is not. When you encounter the allergen, your immune system's response can inflame your skin, sinuses, airways, or digestive tract.
The severity of allergies changes from person to person and may range from a minor annoyance to anaphylaxis -- a possibly life-threatening emergency. When most allergies can not be cured, treatments can help relieve your allergy symptoms.
Allergy symptoms contingent on the offending substance involved can impact your airways, sinuses and nasal passages, skin, and digestive tract. In certain severe cases, allergies may trigger a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.
Some culprits for causing allergic reactions are:
- dust mites
- pet fur or dander
- mold spores
- insect bites
- food types
Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, can cause:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Watery, red or swollen eyes (conjunctivitis)
- Itching of the nose, eyes
A food allergy may cause:
- Tingling in the mouth
- Swelling of the tongue, lips, neck or face
An insect bite allergy may cause:
- A large area of swelling (edema) in the sting site
- Cough, chest tightness, wheezing
- Itching or hives all over the body
- Shortness of breath
A medication allergy may cause:
- Facial swelling
- Itchy skin
Eczema is an allergic skin condition and can cause skin:
- Flake or pare
Some kinds of allergies, including allergies to foods and insect bites, can cause a severe reaction called anaphylaxis. A life-threatening medical crisis, anaphylaxis can cause you to go into shock. Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
- Loss of consciousness
- A drop in blood pressure
- Severe shortness of breath
- Skin rash
- A rapid, weak pulse
- Nausea and vomiting
An allergy begins when your immune system mistakes a normally harmless substance for a harmful invader. The immune system creates antibodies that remain on the alert for that specific allergen. When exposed to the allergen, these antibodies can discharge a range of immune system chemicals, such as histamine, that cause allergy.
Common allergy triggers include:
- Airborne allergens, like tree pollen, dust mites, animal dander, and mold
- Certain foods, especially peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, eggs, and milk
- Insect bites, like from a bee or wasp
- Medicines, especially penicillin or penicillin-based antibiotics
- Latex or other substances that you touch
See: Food allergy diet
Allergy risk factors & complications
You might be more prone to develop an allergy if you:
- Have a family history of allergies or asthma, like hay fever, hives or eczema
- Are a kid
- Have asthma or another allergic condition
With an allergy increases your risk of certain other medical problems, such as:
- Anaphylaxis. If you have severe allergies, you are at greater risk of a serious allergy-induced reaction. Foods, medications, and insect bites are the most common causes of anaphylaxis.
- Asthma. When you've got an allergy, you are more likely to have asthma -- an immune system response that affects the airways and breathing. Frequently, asthma is triggered by exposure to an allergen in the environment.
- Sinusitis and infections of the lungs or ears.
Prevention of Allergies
Preventing allergic reactions depends upon the allergy type you might have. General measures include the following:
- Avoid known triggers. Even when you're treating your allergy symptoms, try to avoid triggers. If, for example, you're allergic to pollen, remain inside with doors and windows shut when pollen is large. If you are allergic to dust mites, clean, vacuum, and wash bedding regularly.
- Maintain a diary. When seeking to identify what causes or worsens your allergic symptoms, monitor your actions with diet, when symptoms occur, and what helps or makes things worse. This record will help you and your doctor narrow and identify causes.
- Wear a medical alert bracelet. If you have had a serious allergic response, a medical alert bracelet (or necklace) lets others know that you have a severe allergy if you have a reaction and cannot communicate.
Natural lifestyle & home allergy remedies
Natural allergy treatments include:
Allergen avoidance. Your doctor can allow you to take steps to recognize and prevent your allergy triggers. This is generally the most crucial step in preventing allergic reactions and reducing symptoms. Check with your doctor before you provide herbal remedies a go.
- Medications. Depending upon your allergy, drugs can help lower your immune system response and ease symptoms. Your physician may suggest over-the-counter or prescription drugs in the form of liquid or pills, nasal sprays, or eyedrops.
Immunotherapy. For severe allergies or allergies not entirely relieved by other therapy, your physician may recommend allergen immunotherapy.
- Another type of immunotherapy is a pill placed under the tongue (sublingual) until it melts. Sublingual medications are used to treat some pollen allergies.
Your doctor can recommend other emergency treatments for you.
Lifestyle and home remedies
Over-the-counter medications will relieve your symptoms, but some natural remedies can work, too. Here are a few to think about trying.
- Herbal Supplements
You may take these in the form of a capsule, drops, or even tea. You might already have one known allergy fighter in your pantry
- Green tea is a pure antihistamine that is strong enough to interfere with allergy skin testing. Sip two cups per day, approximately two weeks before allergy season begins, to help prevent congestion.
- A herb called butterbur may block allergies in addition to over-the-counter antihistamines, Mainardi states. Licorice root is another great option because"it increases your body's level of naturally generated steroids. It could also help loosen mucus, which means you will breathe easier and cough less, but more studies are needed to show this.
Some butterbur products contain a component that may harm your liver and lungs. And if you are allergic to ragweed, marigolds, or daisies, butterbur can cause a reaction.
- Use licorice with care as taking higher amounts can cause high blood pressure and heart issues. Pregnant women should avoid licorice supplements as it can lead to preterm labor.
Home remedies for allergies
- Saline nasal irrigation: Saline nasal irrigation can have beneficial effects for children and adults with allergic rhinitis, or hay fever.
- HEPA filters: By trapping airborne irritants like pollen, dust, and pet dander, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters reduce allergens into your dwelling.
- Bromelain: Papayas and pineapples have an enzyme called bromelain. Natural practitioners believe bromelain to be capable of enhancing breathing by reducing swelling.
- Butterbur: Butterbur - also called Petasites hybridus - can be effective for itchy eyes as an oral antihistamine.
- Ayurveda: Holistic Ayurvedic treatments are proven for many allergy types that include diet, herbal, and detox procedures.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture demonstrated positive results in research for both seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis.
- Probiotics: Studies indicate that probiotics can help improve symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
- Honey: May have used eating locally produced honey to heal allergies. According to the concept, you will decrease your allergic response over time to the pollen the bees collect in your region to make their honey.
- Air conditioners and dehumidifiers: By removing moisture in the atmosphere, air conditioners and dehumidifiers can restrict mold and mildew growth, which could negatively impact allergies.
- Vitamin C: Practitioners of natural medicine may suggest taking vitamin C daily to decrease histamine levels.
- Frankincense essential oil: Frankincense oil might help against perennial allergic rhinitis based on research. You can dilute it and apply behind your ears or use inhalation by diffusing it in the air.
- Peppermint essential oil: Peppermint oil therapy has anti-inflammatory effects of reducing the symptoms of bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis. It is critical to dilute essential oils before applying topically.
- Eucalyptus essential oil: Advocates of organic recovery suggest using eucalyptus oil as an antimicrobial agent by adding it to every wash during allergy season.
- Spirulina: Dietary spirulina, blue-green algae, demonstrated antiallergic protective effects involving allergic rhinitis.
- Quercetin: Quercetin is a favorite of natural recovery advocates who consider that it stabilizes histamines' release and helps to control allergy symptoms. It is found in cauliflower, green tea, broccoli, and citrus fruits.
- Stinging nettle: Natural medicine practitioners may recommend stinging nettle as a natural antihistamine to aid with allergy treatment.
Some allergens are tough to avoid. After discussing your symptoms with your physician, you may think about a home treatment for allergies to take care of the outcomes of exposure to an allergen.
Precautions when using home remedies for allergies
Do not use home remedies to treat acute allergic reactions, or anaphylaxis, which may be identified by symptoms such as:
- difficulty breathing
- tightness in the lungs
- chest pains
- blood pressure affects
- Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening. Consult a doctor immediately.
Additionally, using essential oils is not without risk. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not oversee the purity, quality, and packaging of essential oils. Try each new essential oil sparingly, especially if you're prone to allergies.
While there is some evidence that natural and home remedies for allergies can be effective, it is a good idea to discuss them with your doctor before trying them out. Get a complete diagnosis and listen to your doctor's suggestions on what is right for you and your situation.
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